Top 10 Greatest Hits of 2012 – Number 1
Number 1. Winning Olympic Gold (August 5, 2012)
If you know the least thing about me, you probably know that I am crazy for the Olympics. I always have been. And if you have read any of my Greatest Hits of 2012, you’ve noticed that many of them are about my effort to climb the rankings and qualify for the Olympic Games. My whole life revolved around the Olympics for so much of this year. The London games were eight months ago and I am still wearing shirts that say “Olympics” on them!
My Olympic fever has always been for the Summer Olympics. (I haven’t watched the Winter Olympics since Bonnie Blair was skating.) Serena loves the Olympics too, but I think she is influenced by how much I love it. She is not quite as crazy about the Olympics as I am. Then again, I don’t think there are a lot of people who are as crazy as I am.
Usually in tennis there is this intense focus on you and your own expectations. You try not to pay attention to the media and what everyone else is saying because it is difficult to play with all of that. But in the Olympics it is about pure competition. The Games is the real star. The athletes are there to be part of a team, working together to make it a spectacular event.
That’s also how Serena and I feel about our gold medals. Serena and I have won more gold medals than any other tennis player (we have each won four,) but we feel like we won them for the U.S. not for us. We wanted to win medals to contribute to our country’s total, to watch that medal count at the Games go up. That was the thrill for us. When you help that number get a little higher, you feel like, I made a difference. It was an honor to get to do that, and it was an amazing feeling.
The fact that I got to do it all with my sister made it even better. I’ll never forget how the crowds chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!” after our last match. Or how Serena put her arms around me as we listened to the national anthem at the medal ceremony.
The highlight of my career is being an Olympian. “Once an Olympian, always an Olympia,” they say. I know what they mean. I just can’t get enough of that feeling. The whole experience of doing it more than once resonates with who I am. That’s why I am looking forward to the Olympics in Rio in 2016. I would love to win a medal with Serena at those Games. Any medal.